first posted July 28, 2015 - estimated read time: 11 minutes and 25 seconds
Currently, Jurassic World is sitting on $1,545,405,234 worldwide – so it’s doing something right – but I hated it. Most people I’ve talked to seemed to have enjoyed the film even with what I perceive to be glaring issues, and that’s OK. But as a huge fan of the original, I was definitely left wanting.
Note: There will be spoilers in this article.
First, let’s talk about what I liked about the film because there’s plenty. Getting to see the park actually running was a huge treat and definitely delivered what I wanted. In fact, I loved it so much that I would gladly pay to see that movie; one where no attacks are happening, just a virtual tour of the park.
Tied into the above, I thought the CGI was pretty great. I know a lot of people thought the CGI was subpar, but getting to see that park in all of its glory was an amazing experience, and the CGI really helped immerse me into that world.
Lastly, Chris Pratt. I know that Chris Pratt stock is higher now than ever, but I never really found him to be a big deal. In Guardians of the Galaxy, he was charming sure, but nothing really special I felt. In Jurassic World, however, I really enjoyed how Pratt portrayed velociraptor trainer Owen. He brought an authenticity to the character and by extension the movie, which is something this movie desperately needed.
The Big Bad – Indominus Rex
The Indominus Rex is the main villain of the movie and is a hybrid dinosaur created by combining the genetic traits of multiple species such as Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Giganotosaurus, and modern animals like cuttlefish and Tree Frog.
So the entire reason the park decided to Frankenstein this creature is that “The world has seen what we have to offer, but they aren’t in awe as they once used to be. We need to change that. You can’t expect the world’s greatest theme park to merely rely on the same attractions. We need to be proactive, thinking of bigger and better things”. That’s a direct quote from the movie.
…you didn’t ask for reality, you asked for more teeth–Henry Wu
Basically, in this world, people see dinosaurs and think to themselves, “meh, no different than my local zoo”, and the park’s solution was to just straight up create a new dinosaur to attract new visitors.
Early on in the movie, we are introduced to Owen (Chris Pratt), who trains velociraptors. Following Owen around like a lost puppy (who somehow still thinks he’s the alpha dog) is Vic Hoskins, the leader of Jurassic World’s private security force. Through him, we learn that evil Umbrella Corporation InGen wants to weaponize dinosaurs, which is in large part why Owen is being paid to train the raptors – to see if it’s possible for them to be as obedient as dogs.
I’ll give you one guess at the implied true reason iRex was created. Need help? OK, here are some of its abilities.
- The Indominus Rex can run up to speeds of 30 mph
- It also has well-developed forelimbs complete with opposable thumbs and a giant sickle claw on each middle
- It was able to change color from the cuttlefish DNA, which was used as camouflage in hunting, but also helped the hybrid grow at a quick rate.
- Due to the Tree Frog DNA, it could hide its thermal signature and also detect the thermal signatures of others
- The Velociraptor DNA gave it a high level of intelligence as well as the ability to communicate with Velociraptors (despite never having come into contact with one).
SPOILER ALERT: THE INDOMINUS REX ESCAPES. I hope that didn’t ruin the movie for you if you haven’t seen it yet.
The iRex killed her sibling as her first act in the world and was kept in total isolation growing up, being fed by an impartial machine. Within 30 seconds of seeing the enclosure, Owen states the obvious that (hopefully) every member in the audience was thinking.
They’re all checking out the enclosure, trying to figure out why the iRex isn’t visible. So they check the infrared sensors and, oh god no, it’s gone! But remember, this thing can hide is IR signature via Tree Frog magic, which apparently no one knew about yet.
Question! How did this creature who grew up in complete solitude know humans had infrared sensors and could track it using them? Are you telling me it saw the sensors throughout the enclosure and just knew that they detected IR signatures? Did the sensors have ‘IR SENSORS’ branded on it? Can the iRex read?
I can also only imagine that the IR sensors were active 24/7 with the iRex being constantly monitored, meaning that if the iRex ever hid its signature from the sensors before, then the park officials would have known it had this ability. I can also only imagine that if the sensors failed to detect the iRex’s presence at any moment then a whole army of alarms would have been made. Sadly, my imagination is better than Jurassic World park officials.
So they enter the enclosure to inspect further, leaving the gate open in the process, because movies are nothing without good old fashioned incompetence. They all rush out and see these massive claw marks on the side of the enclosure. Holy hell, did this thing climb out? Without anyone noticing? Even though the claw marks were visible from the giant windows in the monitoring station they were just in, and creating the marks would have caused a musical ton of noise?
With everyone inspecting the claw marks, amazed at how it was possible for her to climb out, she plays them all like chumps and ganks them better than Pudge in DotA, busting out the wide open gate. I know the iRex is supposed to be a super smart dino, but I still find it hard to believe that she was able to devise of this plan with having almost no interaction with humans.
She’s A God
So I already brought up how the iRex demonstrated a level of intelligence that she should just straight up not possess, but let’s do a quick recap.
- She somehow knew that the humans could track her using IR.
- She somehow knew to keep her ability to hide her IR signature a secret.
- She somehow knew how to set up an elaborate trap by creating markings to trick the humans into thinking she escaped
The problem with the above is the giant gap between intelligence and knowledge. You need information in order to create conclusions, and the more information you have (and the more intelligent you are), the more accurate your conclusions are going to be. My point is that there is no way for the iRex to have gained the information needed to know to do the above list.
Remember the raptors in the original Jurassic Park? They had intelligence but had to gain knowledge themselves. This is why they kept attacking the electric fence, but never attacked the same place twice; they were testing it for weaknesses. Same with the doors. They didn’t just look at a door handle and go “Oh, I get it!”, they had to experiment and test and learn.
That’s right, but they never attacked the same place twice. They were testing the fences for weaknesses, systematically. They remember.Robert Muldoon
The worst part, however, was when they finally decide to go after the iRex and take her down if necessary. It turns out that the iRex has a tracking device implanted in her (which they never thought to check before her big escape), so they follow the signal to hunt her down. This is when they happen upon a chunk of meat on the floor with the tracker beeping inside it. The iRex dug the tracker out; it remembered when they implanted it! As the security team wonders how she somehow knew to do that, the iRex was waiting hidden in the trees.
That’s right, she set another freaking trap for them based on knowledge she has no way of getting. She somehow knew it was a tracking device, ripped it out, and then used it as bait. How the hell could she have possibly known it was being used to track her? Uhg.
The Stupid Ass Teenager
Nothing takes me more out of a story than when characters go out of their way to make the most horribly stupid decisions imaginable, or just generally don’t even come close to behaving like any non-moron person would in real life.
Zach and Gray Mitchell are supposed to represent the innocents that must be protected when everything falls apart, and the older brother Zach is just the worst. He literally embodies every possible douchebag “I want to be cool”, “my little brother is dragging me down”, moody moron teenager stereotype imaginable. His character was so poorly written that I became very aware that I was watching a movie about a fictional park instead of being immersed in the world. It was so bad that the most frustrating experience watching the movie was hoping that he would get eaten (because his stupidity demanded atonement), and knowing that the movie would never deliver.
For the entire first half of the movie, Zach is the aloof “I’m too cool to care about dinosaurs” teenager, even though it’s apparent that he actually does like it. Plus, what were the writers thinking? We all came to see a movie about a dinosaur park because we freaking love dinosaurs and would pay a kings ransom to see a real one, and the writers decided that they should make one of the main characters!a character we are supposed to like, identify with, and care about a kid who thinks that dinosaurs are stupid and the people excited around him are lame. Talk about not knowing your audience.
When the iRex escapes, the two brothers are enjoying a leisurely gyrosphere ride through a herd of Apatosaurus’. An emergency evacuation gets announced, and all park goers must immediately return to the main park area. Gray wants to head back, but Zach in typical idiocy wants to ignore the evacuation notice and continue, citing that their Aunt is Operations Manager, so they can get away with staying. They ignored a mandatory emergency evacuation in a dinosaur park*.
Let’s go off-roading!–an idiot
But it gets so much worse. Before they get to the end of the trail, Zach gets a phone call on his cell from his Aunt. He cannot make out what she is saying (poor reception), but it’s clear she is panicked, and it’s important to note that she calls them almost immediately after the mandatory evacuation. Zach shrugs off the call as mear coincidence and continues. At the end of the trail, there is a big metal gate that has been busted open. On this gate, there is a giant no trespassing sign, and it’s very visually clear that the gate is not supposed to be open. Zach even says “What happened here?”, followed by, and I kid you not, “Let’s go off-roading!”. At this point, even his brother is begging to turn back – which Zach also ignores.
SPOILER: THE BAD DINO WAS JUST BEYOND THAT GATE!!!!!!!!!!!
The Kids Are Invincible!
As was mentioned above, I never really feared for the kids’ safety as I was painfully aware that I was watching a movie where the writers would never allow them to die, but that’s not the only problem.
Basically, why should I fear for the kids when they themselves simply walk off near death-by-toothy-chomping experiences like it was a bump on the knee? Remember the kids in the original Jurassic Park, Lex and Tim? They would have needed a lifetime of therapy after the end of that movie. After the T-Rex first attacks, Dr. Grant had to coax Lex out of a storm drain pipe, and Tim is literally frozen with fear and shock stuck in a tree. Remember when they are eating Jello! and they see the silhouette of the raptors? Lex is so scared that she starts trembling in fear.
But the kids in Jurassic World? Sure they get scared, but it’s more Scooby Doo-esque fear than anything, and once the danger has passed it’s just like another day at the office.
*EDIT: It has been rightfully brought to my attention that even though we know it was an emergency evacuation, all that the kids knew at the time was that the ride needed to be prematurely closed. Even so, this is hardly a mitigating factor for their stupidity.